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How to not get burned by a gallery?

As I am venturing out into the world of wholesale and consignment, I
find that I’m unsure of how to figure out if a gallery or online
venue will be trustworthy. What is the best way to research a
gallery or online sales venue that has approached you? Are there
ground rules for not getting burned? Any suggestions other than
writing a contract? (I’ve already learned that lesson the hard way.)

Firefly Jewelry Design


You’re struggling with some of the same issues I have… I’ve done
as much research as possible before working with a gallery/boutique.
Online is a great source (check out their website, news articles,
online opinions, etc.), asking around (works better if they’re
local), and visiting the store itself with a customer’s eye (again,
much easier if local). If you’re satisfied with how things look and
feel, then your chances are better, but not foolproof.

One thing I noticed about your Etsy shop and website: in general
your retail prices seem too close to wholesale prices. Your work
looks good and is interesting; make sure you’re paying yourself
(especially on items like the anticlastic SS bracelet)!

Good luck!

Although I haven’t worked with galleries in years I would look at who
else’s work they carry and get on the phone to those people and ask
them what their experience has been. Most small business people are
happy to spend a few minutes on the phone with someone of the same

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC

Your timing is excellent. At the MJSA show this week there was a
presentation on this subject titled "The Basics of Memo Transactions

  • The Dos and Don’ts of Trading on Memo" by Cecilia Gardner,
    President/CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC); and Dione
    Kenyon, President of The Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT). (memo ==

As part of the presentation a booklet was distributed called “The
Essential Guide to ‘Memo’ Transactions,” co-produced by JVC and JBT.
I suggest you contact these organizations for a copy of the guide.

And the experts (not me) say you will need a contract, but a good
contract can be made to cover multiple consignments with the same
retailer, as long as the contract and list of consignment pieces is
done properly.

As far as how credit worthy these companies are, I was told to look
at their ratings with Dun and Bradstreet and JBT. Unfortunately the
JBT book at the show was limited and out of date for my town.

Mary Partlan
White Branch Designs